Retro TV Console Media Cabinet - UPDATED Now With RetroPie




Introduction: Retro TV Console Media Cabinet - UPDATED Now With RetroPie

It all started out with someone in my neighborhood giving away an old tv console. It had already been stripped cleaned of any electronics and was missing all of the knobs except 1 face plate. The idea was to install an old LCD panel and some sort of stereo amplifier for sound. I was then going to put it in my kids room for an entertainment console with a Roku and a Raspberry Pi with RetroPi installed for some old school gaming.

I made a lot of changes along the way and spent way more time on it than I could have. But through the process I kept things neat and so I tried to make it as nice looking inside as the outside. Thanks for checking it out.

UPDATE: Started installing Raspberry Pi and ran into a few issues. Apparently the momentary switch that I installed for the power to the monitor is not working as expected. I had the Roku installed with an HDMI->DVI cable and the Audio was Analog into the 3.5mm jack in the monitor. The Raspberry Pi was using the HDMI port in the monitor. Well when I press Menu on the back of the console to switch the monitor input from DVI to HDMI the monitor turns off. If I power the monitor back on and then hold the button in then I can use the Menu to switch inputs. This is too hard for my 8 year old to have to manage so I am ordering a HDMI switch with a remote and I will plug the Roku and the Raspberry Pi into it and switch between those ports.

Step 1: Materials and Supplies

Old TV console stripped down (eBay, Garage Sale, Craigslist, Estate Sale)

Old LCD monitor that fits the existing hole as close as possible and upgraded LVDS controller board with HDMI, DVI, VGA, and Audio In/Out:

Old desktop stereo with speakers or powered computer speakers and subwoofer like this:

Roku or Amazon Fire:

Raspberry Pi 3:

Raspberry Pi Case:

USB Game Controllers:

1/4 to 3.5mm Headphone extension cable:

HDMI Cables:

Step 2: Find an Old Monitor

I was on the search for an old 4:3 style 19 in monitor to fill in the space where the old TV tube was. I found a monitor from goodwill for $4. I then upgraded the motherboard to add HDMI, DVI, Audio, and of course VGA.

I purchased a new LVDS board off eBay:

I unfortunately did not show the tear down of the monitor and replacement of the new controller board, but it was not too difficult. I ended up mounting the power brick on the outside of the monitor casing. I had to use my dremel to cut out more holes for the connections since the original monitor only had VGA. I also had to drill more holes in the back of the frame in order to mount the controller board and power supply board.

I plan on upgrading the fluorescent tubes in the monitor to led with one of these kits from eBay:

When I do that then I will add more pictures of the inside of the monitor frame.

I then used the original screws from the TV frame as anchor points and added double headed hex nuts to attach the monitor to the console. It actually worked pretty well and I can easily loosen the screws to remove the monitor to work on it.

The only issue with the monitor was it is just a little too narrow and doesn't fill the viewing area on the sides. The corners are also cut off a little but, it doesn't seem to affect watching the Roku on it since most shows and movies are letterboxed.

Step 3: Add Sound

I definitely could have gone an easier route by adding to powered computer speakers or something instead of taking this route. But I like taking things apart and hacking stuff together to get what I need. This by far took the longest to do correctly and get the outcome that I wanted. At one point I lost sound completely which was from de-solderding the Headphone jack. The signal was coming into the stereo and there was an open ground so I soldered it back it. That was after I had already measured everything out and mounted part of the frame of the stereo to the inside of the console. Instead of moving everything I decided to drill out the front of the console to allow access to a headphone jack if needed. It was an old style 1/4 inch stereo plug. So I ordered an extension adapter to 3.5mm headphone jack. Here is the part on Amazon: My wife did not approve to drilling the hole. She wanted me to keep it as close to stock, but I didn't feel like moving everything. I used a forstner bit to get a good clean hole.

This was my wife's old desktop stereo from college and instead of getting rid of it I decided to use it and strip everything out of it that was not needed. I only need the Aux RCA ports on the back and the amplifier and some of the buttons and the volume knob. That included taking it apart and disconnecting the CD player, Tape Decks, front panel, etc. I ordered some ribbon cable and re-soldered it so that I could mount the two main parts of the stereo inside the cabinet and allow clearance for the speakers. It actually worked pretty well and everything is snug in the bottom of the cabinet. I also mounted a power strip on the other side of the speakers.

Step 4: Install Front and Rear Panel Buttons

The finishing touches were finding new buttons and faceplates to complete the look. I had the luck of attending a free 3D printing class at my local library and manged to get the original faceplate printed. I plan on sanding and painting to match the color scheme. I will update the instructable when I do that. I have the left side installed as a test fit.

I ended up getting some new momentary switches for the power to the stereo and the power to the monitor. I found some cool knobs at Re-Use and they fit right onto the switches. Just a gentle push of the buttons turns on the stereo and the monitor. I also added some USB extension cables to the left hole for when we get our Retro USB controllers. I cut the male end off an old USB cable and hot glued it to another old knob to cover up the ports when they are not being used. That knob might change since it really doesn't go perfectly with the console. I am really happy with the white knobs. The volume know will get changed out also since it is the original knob from the stereo.

I also planned on drilling more holes in the front of the console for the monitor buttons. But like earlier when I mentioned that my wife didn't want any more holes in the front I moved the monitor controls to the back. I had already extended the momentary switches a short distance, but then I added some more ribbon cable to reach the back of the case. I drilled holes that would allow most of the switches to stick out the back and then hot glued them in place. I will only have to use them to switch inputs between the Roku and the Raspberry Pi when that gets installed.

Step 5: Install Roku 2 XS and Raspberry Pi Loaded With RetroPie

I was having issues with manually changing the monitor Inputs. When I push the MENU button the monitor turns off. I figured out that the momentary push button that I replaced the original MENU button with was not working as I thought it would. It turns out that that you have to hold and press the POWER button on the monitor and then you could press the MENU button and manually change the input from DVI to HDMI. This was not an easy way for my son to change. So I ended up buying an HDMI Switch and cables to make it easier.

HDMI switch

3 pack of short HDMI cables

The Raspberry PI was a gift from a friend and it came with a little case, power cord and heat sinks. These are the sites that they bought the supplies from.

Raspberry Pi 3:

Raspberry Pi Case:

The first step was to take apart all 3 devices and drill small holes in the bottom of the cases and screw in aluminum risers to connect to Plexiglas. I also install M4 risers into the the remaining 3 VESA mounts on the back of the monitor. I originally took one out because I thought that I needed to run wiring through it. It turns out that 3 mounts work just fine. I won't be hanging the monitor, but merely attaching the Plexiglas that has the 3 devices attached to it.

Step 6: Follow Up

I was extremely happy with how it turned out. Now the stereo and speakers that I used are definitely overkill. You could definitely get away with the ones I listed in the material list. The monitor just happened to fit perfectly with the existing screws that the frame was using to keep the glass in. Originally I was going to install a monitor arm and adjust the monitor to the front of the console. Thanks for reading. Please comment with any questions.

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks. It turned out pretty well. I unfortunately am never satisfied so I will probably be making changes as I see fit.